Beautiful Gardens program announces VT Spirit daylily

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Beautiful Gardens program are proud to introduce VT Spirit, a new daylily bred to showcase the colors and community spirit of Virginia Tech University. This is the first new plant released by the Beautiful Gardens Plant Introduction Program.

VT Spirit is hardy in all Virginia growing zones and boasts a longer than average bloom season for daylilies. This plant was bred by Virginia Tech graduate Linda Pinkham and donated to the Beautiful Gardens program for evaluation and introduction. The VT Spirit daylily is available from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, VA, and can be purchased online or through their catalog.

VDACS marketing representative Rick Baker has worked with the Beautiful Gardens programs since its inception. He suggests that consumers order this new daylily in early spring while supplies last. “If it is as popular as we think it will be, it will sell out early this first year,” he said. “It’s not only the first new plant introduced in Beautiful Gardens since the program began in 2004, but it also has tremendous sentimental value because of the connection to Virginia Tech. We believe that many people want to be the first in their neighborhoods to showcase the plant.”

Beautiful Gardens was initiated in 2004 as a project of the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association to find, develop and introduce exciting new ornamental plants to the public and stimulate expanded production and profits for Virginia growers. A committee representing all facets of the Virginia horticulture industry was formed to guide and participate in the set up and running of the program. Plants were selected for review at evaluation sites strategically located in the different climatic areas of Virginia. Plants are reviewed for several years and analyzed for hardiness to heat and cold, resistance to insects, susceptibility to disease and their visual appeal. Plants passing these tests are then propagated by tissue culture or traditional methods of vegetative or seed reproduction. When the appropriate method has been selected and researchers know the plant can be reproduced in a timely and economic manner, the committee selects that plant for commercial production by a Virginia grower or growers.

Beautiful Gardens program partners include Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, Virginia Tech Department of Horticulture, VDACS, Virginia Cooperative Extension – Master Gardener Program, Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources, Claytor Nature Center of Lynchburg College, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and numerous individuals active in the Virginia horticulture industry. New plants scheduled for introduction over the next several years include azaleas, hellebores, daylilies and more. A listing of  Plants of Distinction – plants of real value in the Virginia garden but not well known – can be found on the Beautiful Gardens website at www.beautifulgardens.org.


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